tv DW News PBS February 7, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
♪ brent: this is "dw news," live from berlin. tonight, a new government in germany is within reach. the country's would-be new government took its first shaky steps together today. german chancellor angela merkel's conservatives put on a united front with the social democrats. but are they really ready to work together? and what message does this deal send to the world? also coming up, the power struggle in the maldives worsens. it comes as authorities charge top judgesthe government. and signs of a budget deal in the united states, but no plan to protect the so-called
dreamers. we will look at their fight against the trump administration's immigration crackdown. plus, the lowdown on the latest arrivals at the pyeongchang winter olympics. not athletes, but an orchestra from north korea, sent over the border to perform at the opening ceremony. can they bring a little harmony to the troubled peninsula? ♪ brent: i'm brent goff. it's good to have you with us. germany's main political parties have finally agreed to a deal to form a coalition government. they made the announcement in berlin after another session of all-night talks, another grueling game of give-and-take, four months after the country's elections. both angela merkel and her social democrat counterpart martin schulz said the agreement
is the only way to safeguard german stability. reporter: after a marathon 34 hours of negotiations, it is all strained smiles for the would-be coalition partners. with a working compromise achieved, relief from the chancellor. >> i am convinced that the coalition agreement we have worked on together can be just that -- the basis for a solid and stable government. that is what our country needs, and it is what the world is expecting from us. reporter: expectations were high, especially among martin schulz's social democrats. the spd party base will have the last word. over the next few weeks, the party's roughly 460,000 members will decide whether the agreement will stand as the foundation for a new grand coalition. his message -- success. >> we had a big influence on this agreement and we are
grateful to the union parties for making compromises that were difficult for them, but achievable in the end. reporter: one example in the coalition agreement -- fixed term employment will likely be the exception to the rule in the future. repeated contract extensions, a thing of the past -- a clear concession to the social democrats. another key demand from the spd made less headway -- no movement on a major overhaul of the german health care system. the conservatives knew they needed to compromise in order to secure a coalition deal. even the leader of the cdu's variant -- bevarian sister party, the csu, had nothing but praise for the spd and the agreement. >> anyone who reads these 177 pages -- and i hope they will be widely read -- will see what we
are proposing is good for our country. reporter: and that is also what the spd is proclaiming. the social democrats are getting two of the most important ministries -- finance and foreign affairs. martin schulz wants to become foreign minister. he has given up the spd presidency. it has been a tense day in berlin, but the next decisive phase is now beginning. the spd membership will begin voting in a few days. the results should be known on march 4. only then will it be clear whether there really will be a new grand coalition. brent: i'm joined now here in the studio by our chief political correspondent, melinda crane. finally after a series of late-night stakeout's waiting for a deal to be reached. it is good to have you here in the warmth for a change. what did we see today? we heard a lot of statements,
we heard there will be more party negotiations, but we cannot forget that this deal is not done yet. the rank and file of the social democrats have to give their blessing. melinda: that's right. this will go to a vote by the full party membership. that's a lot of people. and the fact is that many of them entered -- not many of them, but up to 5% of the party membership are new members who have just joined in the last few weeks, many with the express aim of voting against a grand coalition. many of them were recruited by the party's youth wing, essentially in order to vote no. the question is, will this deal will sway them? there is good reason to say yes, if they are looking at governing, if they actually want to shape policy in a direction that affects core issues for the social democrats. i mentioned the youth wing, the fact is there are explicit agreements in this aimed at them. higher financial aid for students, educational reform --
those are key issues for the youth wing. but many in that wing of the party essentially say no grand coalition under any circumstances, it doesn't matter what policy direction they are heading in. we're not interested in governing, we are interested essentially in going into retreat for some years and redefining what our party is about. so the big question will be, do those who want to govern win out, or do those who want a phase of retreat win out? we don't know the answer yet. brent: what about angela merkel? we had political limbo in this country for almost five months. a lot of people say that she was too generous, especially last night, in order to end this limbo. was she too generous? melinda: this coalition agreement does involve one of the biggest spending packages that we have ever seen in a coalition agreement. 45 billion just for new projects, over 100 billion they aim to spend through 2021.
so those are big numbers. but i heard a number of conservatives today outside of the parliamentary fractions meeting rooms saying, you know what, the money is there. we have got a lot of tax money in the coffers at the moment. this economy is doing well, and this is the time to spend money on modernizing the economy, on digitalization, on big projects that will give us a really dynamic basis for the future. and frankly, i think they are right. brent: the social democrats, they came out looking like the clear winner in these negotiations. the opposition, rather scathing in its attack. i want to listen to what the alternative for germany, alexander gauland, had to say. >> the allocation of ministerial posts shows the cdu have completely given up because they are afraid of the spd membership vote.
they have hollowed themselves out, ideologically, and technically as well, as they haven't got any of the main ministries anymore. you could say that the cdu is now just an empty vessel. brent: i mean, that is a strong indictment to make against the conservatives. did the conservatives make too many concessions? melinda: you know what? they have kept the ministry that matters most to his voters, and that is the interior ministry. they have also kept the defense ministry. those are two critical ministries exactly for the right-wing. the interior ministry is going to be beefed up. it is going to include a homeland ministry -- homeland security. and again, that is exactly what his voters would be looking for. they want issues like german cultural identity to be on the agenda. they want to talk about securing the country's borders.
well, those will be firmly in the hands of the most conservative party on the political spectrum that is not the far right -- namely, the christian social union. the bavarian conservatives. that's exactly what he is afraid of. the csu said today this is all about the basis for true social cohesion in this country. if great also sure -- if greater social cohesion were to come about, his party would lose out. brent: what about the afd now be the biggest opposition party in germany? a year ago no one would've predicted that. melinda: that is what will happen if this cold ocean comes into place. we don't know that yet. then that will be interesting to see whether that spotlight shining on that party does them good or harm. i think there is a lot in this coalition agreement that goes to the feeling of persuasive insecurity and precariousness that has driven some germans into the arms of the far right. whether the coalition, if it
implemented -- if the agreement is truly implemented will win them back remains to be seen. but i see material in here that could possibly go in that direction if it is implemented the way it is written. brent: all right. our chief political correspondent melinda crane with very clear analysis, thank you very much. dw took to the streets of bonn, germany to ask ordinary germans what they make of today's deal. >> after only reaching this agreement by the skin of their teeth, i doubt it is a really good thing for the whole country. most politicians were probably just thinking of themselves and not the citizens. >> better than new elections because of the afd. maybe they would get more seats, and that would not be good. >> i think it's a good idea. coalition is a really good idea because we all want peace, and there is so much confusion in the world already.
so if they can work together, it is for the better. a better germany is good. >> i think it is a good thing that they have agreed because in the meantime it has become so bad that no politician or person has the endurance to keep going. and they all worked hard. and i think it is a solution for everyone. >> i'm against a grand coalition, so i don't care what they have agreed on. i will definitely vote against it. i am a member of the spd. >> i would have been in favor of new elections, but only in the beginning, not now. that's why i'm glad that an agreement has been reached. but in my opinion it has always headed towards a no-win situation. probably any solution would have been considered a sellout. >> i wonder whether mr. schultz will get a ministry or not. he said he didn't want one, but now they say he will become foreign minister.
so that is something exciting at the end of the day. brent: businesses are already weighing in on the change. one of germany's most important ministries. daniel: that's right. looks like hamburg's mayor has got himself a new job. it is out with the old finance minister. revered at home, he loved to preach austerity to the southern europeans. they hated him. but the bitter medicine is taking effect. greece is back on international markets today, spain has recovered. he has already moved on to his new job as the president of the bundestag. so the next german finance minister could well be this man, a pro-business centrist. he is from the social democrat coalition partners and could soften the harsh face of austerity. and business executives will struggle to convince him to adopt new corporate tax cuts modeled on those passed in the united states, which have
triggered a flood of investment. the last corporate tax overhaul here was a decade ago. the association of german chambers of commerce and industry praises the coalition packet for investing in digital education and broadband. but there is criticism from other groups that nothing much is going to change under another grand coalition. we spoke to thilo brodtmann of germany's engineering association. he was certainly rather lukewarm about the coalition's tax plans. thilo: there is no increase of income tax, but only very little attempt to reduce taxes in germany for the time being. small things like what we call in germany -- they are going down, but not for everybody, not for people with lower income than others. so there's not much development here. we are really lacking reform that goes into the structure and helps companies. one thing that is a real pity --
the competition is rising and what we can do to be number one in exports for the time being, would be of course more innovation, and more innovation asks for tax credits for research. this might come, but only to a very small extent, not helping the whole problem. daniel: let's head over the pond. the volatility continues on u.s. markets today. wall street stocks shot up within minutes of the end of last session following massive swings over the past few days. signs banks could raise interest rates more aggressively had sparked the volatility, and it spread around the world. right now the dow is slightly in positive territory. european shares went even higher, closing about 1.75% up. should bin men be paid the same as cleaning ladies?
warehouse workers the same as shop floor staff? equal pay is a controversial topic in the u.k. at the moment. now supermarket group tesco is facing a hefty lawsuit. workers claim women are paid considerably less than their male counterparts for jobs with similar skills. reporter: the lawsuit comes with a whopping request for compensation. 4 billion pounds, or about 4.5 billion euros. it claims workers in tesco's distribution centers, mostly men, were paid more than the largely female workforce in the stores themselves. the difference -- 3 pounds an hour, or about 5700 euros a year. plaintiffs say the jobs deserve equal compensation. >> we deal with customers. they don't have to deal with customers. we take the stock and we load the stock. they load it off the laurry, we load it onto the shelves.
reporter: the legal claim comes with a gender pay gap there much in the spotlight in britain. the resignation last month sparked a government investigation into paid bias. the government is also pushing a law that requires larger companies to publish pay gap data. but there is already an equal pay laws the books. it is more than 30 years old and is routinely ignored, according to tesco plaintiff lawyers. >> the law has been there since 1984. that is 34 years to get your house in order. reporter: the law firm aims to achieve change through the courts. it is also suing other britain supermarket chains. daniel: could be very expensive for tesco. that is it for your business. back over to brent. brent: the united nations is calling the political crisis in the maldives an all-out assault on democracy. that is after authorities arrested two of the country's top judges on attempts of
overthrowing the government. president abdulla yameen abdul gayoom has defied a court ruling ordering the release of jailed opposition leaders. he has imposed a state of emergency in the island nation. reporter: this is what a state of emergency looks like. police blocking the opposition party headquarters. no one goes in or out without their say. president abdulla yameen abdul gayoomlamed the position for forcg his hand. >> ts is not a state of war, epidic, or national disaster. this is something more dangerous. thiss an obstruction of the variability of this state to function. reporter: yameen has faced international criticism for rolling back democratic reforms. he has used the state to crack down on opponents, most recently ordering police to storm the supreme court and arrest two justices. the opposition is defiant. as the former finance minister
was taken to jail, he said the whole procedure was illegal. "i have been taken into custody unlawfully." it is not clear what charges the detainees will face. international pressure is mounting, with calls for the president to respect the constitution and the rule of law. brent: earlier we spoke to opposition member of parliament, eva abdulla. she explained why her democratic party has called on india to intervene in the maldives. eva: we think it's time for india to stop its wait and watch policy. since president yameen came to power, he has moved maldives' foreign policy very much towards china, and it has very much been at the expense of india. india has always been our
traditional and closest economic and trade partner, but now it has shifted very much towards china. you might have seen china's rather harsh warnings to india today, one of china's newspapers basically said india should back off from the maldives. this is a domestic problem and india should back off. that in itself is alarming, that china should be speaking on behalf of the maldives to india about a problem in the maldives -- that is very alarming. india has always been our first partner we turn to in political crises or national crises. it is very alarming that china should feel they can speak on behalf of the maldives. this is why moldavian's are appealing to india for a firmer and more robust political engagement. we are asking india to help us get out of the situation. brent: that was eva abdulla, a
member of the parliament in the maldives. here's a look now at other stories making headlines around the world. the syrian government and its ally russia have launched fresh airstrikes in a rebel-held area east of damascus. observers say the strikes on wednesday killed over 28 people. hundreds of thousands of people remain trapped there by a government siege. u.s. senate leaders have reached a budget agreement which could prevent a looming government shutdown. senate majority leader mitch mcconnell and democratic leader chuck schumer announced the deal which boosts spending for defense and domestic programs. the deal still needs to be approved by the full senate and the house. the senate deal does not address the status of the so-called dreamers, those immigrants who were brought to the country illegally as children. next month, the government program doing them -- giving them temporary protection is due to expire. as democrats and republicans
have not yet agreed how to form -- reform the migration policy, about 700,000 dreamers stand to lose the policy that allowed them to stay and study in the u.s. the issue is hotly disputed. our reporter has talked to people on both sides of the fence. reporter: even on a cold day in washington dc, a group of activists gather in front of the trump hotel to protest against the president's new proposals. his proposal targets not only illegal, but also legal migration. >> it is very important that we continue in this fight. because we know that trump's words are conquering a lot of people in this country. reporter: one of the main proposals of trump's plan is to limit family reunification. matthew o'brien works for an organization that seeks to
reduce immigration in the u.s. >> family reunification, if you stop and think about it, it is a silly policy for immigration because families can stay unified if they stay home together. so the average immigrant to the united states based on research provided by princeton university brings approximately 3.45 people with him or her. so that means that every time that the u.s. allows someone to come in here, that is an initiating immigrant who then causes a chain reaction where other immigrants are able to come here. reporter: the question is why some immigrants leave their homes and come to the u.s. at all. >> i came because the gangs in el salvador killed my brother-in-law with 12 shots. so should i wait until my husband is next? or my children? this is why i am here -- not because i have nothing to eat or a place to live -- i am here to save my life. reporter: fair supports most of
the plans and trump's agenda, as well as his general view on immigrants. asked about the correlation between immigration and crime, mr. o'brien has a clear opinion based on his former work deporting immigrants from new york state prisons. >> my personal experience was that they are a very, very disturbingly large number of people who were both illegal aliens but also lawful migrants who had committed crimes and wound up in prison. reporter: that is one of the main reasons they are protesting. they reject this betrayal of themselves. >> the representation of us as criminal is not true. not everyone is a criminal. we are workers, we are students. we are here making the country a better place. reporter: the popularly-held believe that immigrants are criminals is not backed up by statistics, as the president of the migration center in washington tells us. >> there are number of studies that tell us quite conclusively that immigrants are much less likely to commit crimes the native-born americans.
unauthorized immigrants, those that are here without legal papers are also particularly less likely to commit crime. which is interesting, but it also makes sense. right? people who come to this country come to work. if they don't have papers, they are worried about getting entangled with the authorities. and even if they do have papers, even if they are here as legal rensidents, the reality is most immigrants are here to work and do not want to get caught up in the legal system. reporter: when it comes to immigration policy, the u.s. seems more polarized than ever. brent: the german cup quarterfinals continued on wednesday night with frankfurt the latest team to confirm their place in the last four thanks to a 3-0 home win. the away fans were in good voice ahead of the match against their local rivals, but their team went behind when they lost possession. he fired home. and another defensive error saw
frankfurt double their lead. hack was at fault again to allow omar to make it 3-0 and put frankfurt through. athletes have been arriving in pyeongchang ahead of the opening ceremony of the winter olympics on friday, but there is more than just sports on the agenda. international politics are once more dominating the olympics. reporter: musicians, not athletes, arrived on wednesday. this 140-strong north korean orchestra will play in pyeongchang and seoul. at the border, north korea's cheering squad arrived with high hopes for the upcoming games. >> i'm glad the winter olympics will be held with a successful cooperation between north and south korea. i hope that athletes from the
two koreas will achieve good results in this olympics. reporter: the political undertone of the games extends beyond the korean peninsula. lawyers of 15 russian athletes appealed to the court of arbitration for sport as a seek -- as they seek to be admitted to the olympics. they follow 32 unsuccessfully appealed on tuesday, but they expect 168 russian athletes to compete under a neutral flag. other athletes have still found time to get into the olympic mood. >> my game face on the ice is totally different from right now. it's not this. it's like, you -- don't be in my way because i am probably going to kill you. [laughter] reporter: here's hoping jokes and smiles will prevail as athletes continue to arrive ahead of the opening ceremony on friday. brent: yeah, don't get in her way. here's a reminder of the top stories we are following for you. germany's biggest political
parties have announced an agreement to form a coalition government. chancellor angela merkel calling the deal that her conservatives struck with the social democrats a basis for good government. social democrat leader martin schulz says the pact will bring fundamental change for both germany and europe. after a short break, i will be back to take you through the day. stick around for that. ♪ [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org]
(fire engine blaring) - americans are asking, who attacked our country? in afghanistan we see al-qaeda's vision for the world. the united states respects the people of afghanistan, but we condemn the taliban regime. by sponsoring and sheltering and supplying terrorists, the taliban regime is committing murder. they will hand over the terrorists, or they will share in their fate. - [narrator] us troops have been in afghanistan for more than 15 years, making it the longest war in american history. the september 11th attacks prompted washington and nato to send forces to neutralize the al-qaeda terrorist organization and the taliban regime that sheltered them.